Comedian Joe Wong Talks Cultural Mishaps

Comedian Joe Wong brought his offbeat, factual jokes to campus last Friday and evoked hearty laughter from the Andover audience.

Rob Crean, a local aspiring comedian, opened the night for Wong with some self-deprecatory humor. He recounted a time when his girlfriend said he resembled a Beastie Boy, but only because he was “old and wearing a hoodie.” Although the audience was a little unresponsive at first, his jokes about leading tours on the Boston Freedom Trail elicited laughter. Crean ridiculed himself for complaining about taxes on tea while dressed as a colonial American.

Similar to the humor of Crean, Wong focused his humor on his own mistakes and misunderstandings as a Chinese immigrant in the United States. Much of his observational comedy was infused with anecdotes about immigration and science.

“I’ve found that if you make your comedy more personal, people will love it more. Everybody is different. In the beginning, I was trying to go for a Rodney Dangerfield, Mitch Hedberg style of jokes, but then I incorporated more intimate personal stories,” said Wong.

Wong remembered his confusion over the words “mattress and mistress” and how he mistakenly offered a friend “a king-sized mistress.”

“I was expecting a lot of stereotypical jokes involving Asians and math, but he really deviated from that theme, and I found his show really refreshing,” said Amogh Sharma ’14.

Wong’s education in China and the United States was a recurring theme in the show. Wong talked about how he let 30 friends copy his journal for a class while in the Chinese public school system. His teacher caught on, Wong revealed, when 30 students all claimed to have helped a dulcet old lady cross the street on the same day and found it very hard but rewarding.

“I enjoyed myself Friday night. I have so much respect for [Wong] because he’s following his passion, which is telling jokes. He’s definitely very good at it,” said Katie Wilbur ’15.

The audience laughed loudly at Wong’s jokes about working out and gym advertisements. Wong pointed out one gym with the slogan, “Give us six weeks, we will give you your life back.” Wong said he couldn’t help but inquire, “Am I hostage?”

Wong proposed that the solution to global warming was switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and that taking a trip to the moon was the key to quick weight loss.

“I really liked the misconceptions and absurdities of American culture that he played on, as well as his offbeat presentation,” said Alex Tamkin ’14.

Wong’s unusual, occasionally nonsensical jokes drew peals of laughter from the crowd. “A snake is just a head and a tail, kind of like a coin. There is no joke here,” said Wong.

Wong delivered his witty one-liners in the last portion of the show, during which he used a PowerPoint presentation to feature multi-media, Demetri Martin-esque jokes. The first slide of the presentation read, “This is the first slide.”

“I always loved humor, and after I graduated from school, I had a little bit more free time, and so I started to try different things, and once my coworker took me to a comedy club, I just got hooked,” said Wong.

In his typical, factual style, Wong concluded his show with a PowerPoint slide that read: “This is the last slide.”